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Ranking the NFC East head coaches

It’s mid-July, and there’s not much to do except to make lists and rank players coaches... so let’s get to it!

Jay Gruden - Redskins

NFL: Denver Broncos at Washington Redskins Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Jay Gruden (Washington) seems to be a coach who brings a sense of humor to work to match his keen understanding of NFL offense. Players seem to enjoy playing for him, but there has been criticism of his ability to get players ready early in the season, and to have them ready to play in the big games that come up every regular season and in the playoffs. At times he has seemed disinterested in the defensive side of the ball, and many fans question his commitment to the run game.

Still, Gruden can point to a 24-23-1 winning mark over the past three seasons, and a generally positive tenure in his 4+ seasons as the head coach. He is the only head coach in the Dan Snyder era to reach his 5th season at the helm, or to be given a contract extension. At least one person thinks that 2018 could be “the year of Jay Gruden”. With all that said, Gruden has managed just one division title and no playoff wins in his four years in Washington.

How does he stack up against the other head coaches in the division?

Jason Garrett - Cowboys

Jason Garrett (Dallas) - Honestly, I’ve always considered the Jerruh & Jason show to be mainly a comedy, but it’s hard to laugh following the last two seasons where the Cowboys went 13-3 after losing Tony Romo during the 2016 preseason, then 9-7 in a turbulent 2017 season when Zeke Elliott’s on-again-off-again-on-again 6 game suspension was a huge distraction. Garrett’s coaching and leadership (as well as some genuinely salty language) were on full display last season, as the Cowboys were the subject of the documentary series, “All or Nothing” that put Garrett and his coaching style on display for the world to see.

Can Garrett re-ignite the magic with Prescott & Elliott, or is his team simply underpowered after losing long-time veteran mainstays, Romo, Bryant and Witten? Garrett has been head coach or interim head coach since the middle of the 2010 season. He has had 3 winning seasons in 7 full seasons as head coach, and he’s 1-2 in the playoffs, having never advanced beyond the divisional game. Cowboy fans have expressed a lot of frustration with him, though he has always seemed to enjoy very strong support (at least publicly) from Jerry Jones.

Doug Pederson - Eagles

NFL: Super Bowl LII-Philadelphia Eagles vs New England Patriots Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Doug Pederson (Philadelphia) - After a seeming lifetime of Andy Reid in Philly, Jeffrey Lurie seemed to “win” the Chip Kelly sweepstakes in 2013. It took Kelly just three short seasons to emasculate Howie Roseman and dismantle the Eagles roster. Jeff Lurie, realizing his horrible mistake, fired Kelly, and went back to his comfort zone by restoring much of Roseman’s power, and hiring long-time Eagles & Andy Reid assistant coach Doug Pederson (who had also played quarterback for the Eagles in 1999) to take over the HC job two years ago.

Pederson’s first season as a head coach in 2016 was rough -- not unusual for newly hired coaches trying to rebuild wounded franchises — but Pederson didn’t disgrace himself. In his sophomore campaign in 2017, he won the super bowl despite losing Darren Sproles, Jason Peters and Carson Wentz to season-ending injuries. The question may not be, is he the best coach in the division; it may be, is he the best coach in the NFL?

Will Pederson be able to motivate his players to climb the mountain again in 2018?

Pat Shurmer - Giants

NFL: New York Giants-OTA Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports

Pat Shurmer (New York Giants) - The Ben McAdoo experiment ended abruptly before the season was complete last year. The Giants got a jump on the recruitment process for the next head coach, but many observers felt that they didn’t manage to land their first choice, meaning that Pat Shurmur may have been the consolation prize.

This is Shurmer’s second time round as a head coach; in his first stint, he was just 10-23 as an NFL head coach. All but one of those games came with the Browns. The Giants are taking the view that the Browns don’t count. The team hired the Vikings’ offensive coordinator as New York’s newest head coach once Minnesota’s season was officially over with the NFC Championship loss to the Eagles. It’s a five-year deal for Shurmur, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Shurmer spent three seasons as the Eagles offensive coordinator after being fired from the Browns. Shurmur’s NFL coaching career began with a 10-year run (1999-2008) in Philadelphia. He also coached in college at Stanford and Michigan State.

Shurmur spent the last nine years in the NFL as either an offensive coordinator or head coach, building a reputation as a quarterback guru in the process. He was the architect behind Nick Foles’ record-setting 2013 season with Philadelphia and Sam Bradford’s development in St. Louis, but his most impressive work has come over the past two seasons. That’s when he helped Minnesota engineer a turnaround despite a couple of devastating injuries at quarterback.


Who is the best head coach in the NFC East?

This poll is closed

  • 17%
    Jay Gruden
    (261 votes)
  • 1%
    Jason Garrett
    (22 votes)
  • 80%
    Doug Pederson
    (1232 votes)
  • 0%
    Pat Shurmer
    (15 votes)
1530 votes total Vote Now


Which head coach do you have the LEAST faith in for the 2018 season?

This poll is closed

  • 9%
    Jay Gruden
    (133 votes)
  • 58%
    Jason Garrett
    (804 votes)
  • 0%
    Doug Pederson
    (8 votes)
  • 31%
    Pat Shurmer
    (438 votes)
1383 votes total Vote Now


Where do you rank Jay Gruden among the head coaches in the NFC East?

This poll is closed

  • 10%
    (142 votes)
  • 61%
    (846 votes)
  • 22%
    (306 votes)
  • 5%
    (76 votes)
1370 votes total Vote Now


How many NFC East teams will reach the playoffs this season?

This poll is closed

  • 33%
    (462 votes)
  • 63%
    (864 votes)
  • 2%
    (41 votes)
1367 votes total Vote Now